As I was talking with Matt Grimes & the crew from CCOR, we stumbled into a conversation about how the best all-around builds usually ended up being a healthy mix of aftermarket parts ENHANCED with clever custom application.
See it’s all about a broader perspective.
Someone with skills, tools, and creativity can piecemeal together anything, from a hotrod to a Honda. They can raid junkyards, backyards, and Craigslist… & custom fabricate brackets, mounting points, brakes, flares, etc. You get the idea; they can create something cool. Something that gets attention, and deserves attention. We’re not knocking it.
But the reality is: There’s a fine line between ‘attention’ and actual bonafide ‘performance capability’.
There’s also a fine line between a hobby, versus an industry. A hobbyist builds something in the garage for his own needs. Meanwhile the aftermarket industry creates innovative & improved products… and then SELLS those products to a hungry customer base, giving the enthusiast wider & better range of options.
Any chassis with strong aftermarket support, will be solidified as a strong chassis.
I mention this here, because Jeep has the strongest aftermarket of any vehicle on the planet. And as such, there is literally no ceiling as to where you can take one.
Matt Grimes from CCOR
This jeep came to us as a vehicle that had been built a couple of different times, and wheeled hard. After looking her over, it was clear that we had a good, solid platform at the core, but most-all of it had to go. We reused what we could.. and upgraded the rest.
The goal was to keep a low center of gravity, so we designed a low-profile cage, and stretched the suspension. We also used high-clearance fenders & corners to allow an even amount of up/down travel, and ensure an excellent ride quality both ON the trail… and TO/FROM the trail.
It’s a well thought out machine.
And while there is a ton of custom fabrication wrapped up in the build… the strategy was to buy as much store-bought aftermarket stuff as possible… and then COMBINE it with our knowledge of off-road performance & custom fab. Basically to use what is tried, true, and tested… and then make it even better for this particular application.
And even with something that came out looking this good, if asked of it, it would qualify & be highly competitive within its class. Next on the list is an LS engine and 480 transmission!
2004 Jeep TJ – 2.4L 4-cylinder engine w/ 5-speed transmission
SUSPENSION / AXLE
Rock Krawler 5in X Factor long arm lift kit – with 5in rear stretch
Currie Dana 44 front axle
Currie Dana 60 RockJock rear axle (both axles with ARB lockers)
Currie 1-ton steering upgrade
Currie front Antilock sway bar kit
Custom front & rear driveshafts upgraded to 1350 u-joints by Carolina Driveline
West Texas Off Road hydro assist for the steering and box
Advance Adapters Atlas II 5.0:1 transfer case
FOX 2.0 adjustable reservoir shocks on all 4 corners
ARMOR / BODY
GenRight corner guard blanks (custom modified to incorporate original rock sliders and MetalCloak rear rub rails)
MetalCloak Overline front tube fenders
Incorporated the rock sliders and corner guards and added rub rail to the rock sliders
-Tied all into frame
Incorporated a rollover hoop & brush guard hoop to existing front bumper
Full 9-point tie-in custom roll cage with integrated seat mounts & shock mounts, making it a fully encapsulated cage (safety first, then fun!)
Corbeau JP front seats in black vinyl and 5-point latch and link harnesses
PRP Premier lite rear seat (for the little ones – can be used for youth)
Rugged Ridge grab handles front & rear
Removable & adjustable high-clearance swing down tire carrier that can accommodate 35” up to a 40” custom fabricated by CCOR (triple bronze powdercoat)
Custom fabricated side mirror by CCOR
Custom fabricated Yeti cooler mount & tie-down fabricated by CCOR
Triple bronze powdercoating by Classic Powdercoating and Ceramics in Winterville, GA
Custom pinstriping by David Piatek of Athens, GA
Warn Powerplant winch & TrailGear 3×30 strap for recovery
WHEELS / TIRES
Raceline TR232 Monster beadlocks with custom triple bronze rings painted by CCOR
Interco SuperSwamper 36×13.50-17LT Irok tires
(2) 20” Rough Country single-row light bars
Rough Country rear flush-mount reverse lights
Rough Country rock lights
Poison Spyder LED taillights
Poison Spyder A-Pillars for the custom cage
Poison Spyder hood louver for venting
RCI aluminum fuel cell & custom fuel cell mount – fabricated by CCOR
-Custom fuel system. Incorporated OE sending unit and retrofit with RCI system, so all dash gauges could be utilized.
-Routed all lines and used AN fitting
-Plumbed the fuel system with 2 fuel filters. One late-80s Corvette filter after the fuel pump, and one out of a 1988 K5 blazer before the pump. The Corvette filter has a high pressure return diaphragm, allowing us to use an aftermarket fuel cell & not inhibit fuel delivery (to and from).
-Incorporated original fuel lines with OE disconnect lines for ease of maintenance
Custom exhaust by Stephen Epps of Lord’s Exhaust in Commerce, GA
Text by Wooley & Matt Grimes Photos by Wooley